Anthony SanFilippo: My Battle with COVID-19

I was never afraid of COVID-19.

And now, after a personal ordeal with the virus that had me hospitalized for 11 days, including seven days in intensive care and one crazy night in critical condition, I’m still not afraid of it.

That doesn’t mean I’m putting my head in the sand about this pandemic. Far from it. Instead, I’m just being more vigilant about the messaging that needs to be shared about this novel coronavirus.

I want to tell you about my ordeal – not because I want to put gory details of a hospital stay down in print, but rather in an effort to effectively communicate what goes on with COVID-19 that maybe doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.

What do I mean by that?

The worst part of COVID-19 is not necessarily the virus itself, but rather the stigma that comes with having the virus, the unwillingness to communicate about it and the fear-mongering that those two things create.

In a lot of ways, COVID-19 is a boogeyman. I know that might seem harsh, what with more than 400,000 Americans having died either of COVID-19 or with COVID-19. But the reality is, despite that number, there are millions of Americans who have lived with or are living with COVID-19.

Once in a while we’ll get a human-interest story on the news about those people fighting the good fight, but the underlying premise is often that the virus wasn’t taken seriously, or that this particular illness was generated from a family gathering, or some other storyline that is being pushed hard upon the American people that is meant to scare them.

Rarely do we hear the actual personal stories. Rarely do we get to know decisions that are being made, and why. Rarely do we hear about how people like me survived COVID-19 or are living with the aftereffects of it.

Sure, there are stories out there. But they are not at the top of your Google search. You have to look deep and far across the internet to find people who want to share their story as a way of educating others and helping them to truly understand COVID-19 rather than just be more and more afraid of it.

As I said, every story is different. What happens with one person does not necessarily happen with another. COVID-19 stories are as unique as snowflakes.

Nevertheless, here’s mine. And I hope it helps you to better understand this virus and how to handle it if it comes your way.

How I caught it

Frankly, I have no idea. It might have been my Dad, who was having flu-like symptoms a couple days before I started showing symptoms, but there’s no guarantee. It could have been my youngest son, who also tested positive (albeit a couple days after me), who was asymptomatic, but works regular hours in retail.

I could have gotten it from out in public, too. I was a good citizen. I always wore my mask. I did my best to keep distance from others in stores. But who knows? Maybe I got it from someone at Wawa. Or while pumping gas. Or at CVS. Or picking up some takeout food.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter.

Viruses have spread human to human since the dawn of time. I got it from somebody. It doesn’t matter who, and I don’t blame them.

See, it’s easy to get angry with this virus. That’s because most of us are afraid of it. We suddenly find out we are COVID-19 positive and the first thing we want to do is blame someone for making us sick, because this is the worst virus ever, or so we’ve been told.

But I wasn’t angry. I knew I was getting sick on Jan. 5. I was running a low-grade fever and I had the worst headache ever – which was most interesting because I hardly ever get headaches.

On Jan. 6th, I was starting to get chills and feeling really lethargic. So, I called my doc. She set up a COVID test for me on Jan. 8. She told me to call her back if my symptoms worsened.

I went for my test on the 8th, which was a Friday, and when I got home, my fever started to spike. So I called the doc back and she put me on a steroid and an inhaler.

I still didn’t have any type of cough, which was making me think that maybe I didn’t have COVID-19, but rather just the flu.

However, I have had a susceptibility to pneumonia in my adult life. I had been diagnosed with some sort of pneumonia eight times in 18 years, and as the weekend wore on, I started to feel like I felt in those previous incarnations. I couldn’t lay down – I had to constantly sit up. I wasn’t coughing, but I couldn’t talk in complete sentences without a little cough intervening, cutting short my breath.

This was the first time I thought, yep, this might be COVID-19.

However, the steroid started working better on Monday, and even though I got the call from the doc that I was positive, I was feeling a little better. Heck, on Tuesday I felt well enough to take part in an interview with Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim for our Snow the Goalie podcast, even though I was still struggling a little bit with long sentences, I was able to get through it.

At this point I was figuring, I was already on the road to getting better, I just had to lock it down at home as far as a quarantine for two weeks and everything would be fine.

Then Wednesday Jan. 13 happened.

An unexpected battle

Two weeks prior to me getting sick, a guy I knew who was a little older than me, but not much, died with COVID-19. He had other health conditions and tried to treat COVID-19 like the flu. He didn’t want people to know he had it and tried to tough it out. Without the proper medical treatment, he took a sharp turn for the worse, and died a little more than two weeks after getting the virus.

That, was a sad story – and fresh on my mind as I woke up on Wednesday not feeling right.

I was sitting up in bed, but I was feeling light-headed. The chills were back. The headache was back. I leaned over to my nightstand and I took my meds. I laid back down, figuring maybe close my eyes for another hour and I might feel better.

After that hour, I decided a hot shower would help. I got out of bed and I can’t even explain the feeling that came over me. I was not going to make it another step. I was standing at the end of my bed and felt like I was going to black out. I immediately threw myself backwards onto the bed, as it was the safest place to be, but even then, laying on the bed, I couldn’t get myself right.

My eyes were darting all around the room, which was spinning in circles. I suddenly felt a wave of nausea sweep over me. I didn’t get sick in that moment, but my body was definitely not responding well to whatever was ailing me.

I laid still and closed my eyes. I was hoping that my body would course correct and everything would be OK. Suddenly, after some time, I felt this weird pressure building up in my sinuses. It was pushing hard and fast against my face. And then, just as quickly as it arrived, it was gone. I opened my eyes and felt normal for a minute.

No dizziness. No chills. No headache. Just normalcy.

I sat up. Then I stood up. Everything was ok. I still wanted that shower, but I told myself I was calling the doc as soon as I got out.

I made my way to the bathroom and cranked the shower on pretty hot. Standing under that shower felt really good for a few minutes. Then, all of the sudden, the dizziness returned, and returned fast. I couldn’t see straight. The room was spinning. Only this time, I was losing consciousness and I knew it. With whatever energy I had left, I stepped out of the shower, threw a towel down on the toilet seat wrapped a second towel around my torso and sat down.

I never actually passed out, thankfully – who knows what would have happened had I did. But as I slowly regained control of myself again, I couldn’t help think of that guy I knew.

It was in that moment that I said to myself, “I’ll be damned if this virus kills me. I’m getting help.”

Once I was able to steadily move again, I made it to the bedroom, threw on some sweats, and called a family member and asked them to drive me to the hospital.

As I waited for the ride, my breathing started to get worse. I’m not sure if it was just the COVID-19 taking effect, or if there was some anxiety mixed in there, but suddenly, it wasn’t just talking that made breathing a challenge. Breathing made breathing a challenge.

I decided to go to Bryn Mawr Hospital. It’s not the closest hospital to me, but my family doc is in the Main Line Health System and I have family who work or have worked for Main Line and they always recommended Bryn Mawr for emergencies.

When I got there, I remember walking in and walking up to the security guard. His eyes were popping out of his head as he looked at me. I must have looked like I was on death’s door. He asked me what the problem was and all I could say was “I have Covid-19 and I’m having a hard time breathing.”

Within seconds I was whisked into the ER in a wheelchair. At least 15 different people were working on me. They put me on high flow oxygen at 100 percent. They hooked me up to an IV. The work was fast, furious, and sensational.

There’s no doubt I was on the verge of that pass out again when I walked in there and within an hour I felt better than I’d felt in days.

That said, I was far from out of the woods. The nurse called my sister and explained my situation. I was critical, but stable. I was not breathing on my own at all. If things didn’t improve quickly, we might have to talk about being put on a ventilator – and we’ve all heard those horror stories during this pandemic.

As I laid there in the ER, many nurses and doctors stopped by. It was a whirlwind of information. Here are the drugs we’re going to put you on. We need to draw more blood (In the 11 days I was at Bryn Mawr I was stuck by needles more than 70 times). We need you to be on a heart monitor and a pulse oximeter. We need you to try to go to the bathroom. You’re definitely being admitted and we’re bringing you to the ICU. It was crazy.

But the one conversation that sticks out is the one that probably mattered most for me.

One of the ER docs walked into the room and he said to me, “You need to start proning right away.”

What the hell in proning? Even spell check doesn’t know what it means?

“I want you to lay on your stomach,” he said. “It’s going to be uncomfortable, especially with all the things you are hooked up to – but you need this. It’ll save you.”

I said, “What do you mean it’ll save me?”

He looked at me for a second, made sure we had eye contact, and then very directly said “Proning is living. It will ultimately let you breathe on your own.”

Now, I’m not a small guy. I did lose 24 pounds on the COVID-19 diet (not recommended), but me laying on my stomach on a hospital bed while being hooked up to all kinds of machines was like looking at a beached whale. I couldn’t move an inch. I was completely uncomfortable. My back was stiffening. My feet were falling asleep. I couldn’t even distract myself by watching TV or looking at my phone because of the position I was in.

But I couldn’t get those three words out of my head, “Proning is living.”

So, I stayed that way for 13 hours straight.

Life in the ICU

When they woke me up Thursday morning in the ICU (more bloodwork and vitals), they told me I could sit up for the first time since I arrived.

This, was a victory.

After 13 straight hours on my stomach, I was allowed to turn around and sit up. It wasn’t going to be long – only a couple hours, and then back to the proning for another nine hours – but it was a respite. I was also told I could get food for the first time.

I didn’t have the biggest appetite, but I definitely could eat.

And I was feeling a little bit better. They lowered my oxygen intake slightly, my fever was reduced to low-grade. The chills were gone. The headache was gone. This was progress.

The doc even stopped in to talk about my treatment. I was going to be given remdesivir in combination with a steroid as well as a blood thinner injection twice a day.

Remdesivir got a lot of headlines, some negative, because it was the drug used to treat former President Donald Trump when he had COVID-19.

I’m here to tell you it’s a good drug. While trials are ongoing and its looking like plitidepsin, a drug used to treat multiple myeloma may in fact be even more effective the remdesivir, the fact is, more than half of COVID patients are treated with remdesivir in the U.S.

It works.

Maybe it was the combination with the steroid and the blood thinner, but it doesn’t matter. It made me feel better with each dose I received.

In fact, you may not have heard much about the blood thinners in the treatment of COVID-19, but its looking like they should be the standard of care. The docs at Bryn Mawr recognized this with me and used all of these tools in their toolbox to help me recover. I can never thank them enough.

That said, it wasn’t all wine and roses in the ICU, and this part is my fault.

Bashful bladder

I’ve talked many times publicly about my inability to go to the bathroom in public unless I am locked alone inside of a bathroom stall.

I don’t know what it is, I just have this shyness factor that comes into play. It doesn’t matter how badly I have to go, if there’s someone nearby, or I’m not in a bathroom at home or a stall in public, it’s not happening.

This is years in the making. I have stories that go back to my childhood.

So, imagine what has to happen when you are in the ICU, hooked up to all kinds of machines and you aren’t allowed to walk yet, into a bathroom?

Yes there are containers provided, to do what has to be done there, in the hospital bed. But, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. I could feel the need but couldn’t complete the deed.

So, they had to bring in an ultrasound machine to see how much fluid I was holding back in my bladder. Turns out it was a ridiculous amount. Enough that I could have filled a couple of those plastic bottles.

I tried to beg to be able to go into the bathroom to relieve myself, but was denied.

There was only one solution.

The first two times they had to catheterize me, they did it just to empty my bladder and then remove the tube. The third time, the doc was worried that infections could happen with constant catheterization, so they went with a more permanent catheter.

All because I was too shy to pee.

But, the reality here is, COVID also attacks kidney function. Combine that with the potential side effects of the drugs I was on, and there was a legit concern. I had to go to the bathroom – and regularly. I had no choice. So, if I couldn’t go on my own, the hospital found a way to assist.

Needless to say, this was the most uncomfortable two days of my life. Proning. Catheter. BIPAP. Oh wait. I haven’t even talked about that yet.

Sleep assistance, or lack thereof

One of the questions I was asked repeatedly in the hospital to make sure my cognition wasn’t slipping because of COVID-19, or the various medications being pumped into me, was if I knew what year it was.

This, of course was a little trickier than you think, especially since it’s still the first month of the new year. But hey, I got it right every time.

That being said, you’d think that since it was 2021 that there would be a better solution to helping someone with sleep apnea breathe and, yes, sleep, at night than a mask that looks like it belongs on a tie fighter pilot.

Now I know what you’re thinking… Haven’t CPAP machines graduated to a more comfortable fitting head gear? One that just rests under the nose with the tubing extending from the top of the mask on the crown of the head and into the machine?

Yes. But this is COVID-19 we are talking about. The air has to be more controlled. I wasn’t allowed to have my own mask sent from home. So, every night, I had to wear this monstrosity on my face. It covered both my mouth and nose, thus the BIPAP name. It blew constant air in my nose and mouth. It was a significant distraction.

Sorry for a second Star Wars reference, but I truly sounded like Darth Vader when I was talking to the nurses with that thing on.

Making matters worse, I couldn’t remove it myself. Nor could a nurse. It would have to be removed by a member of the Respiration team. So, when I was ready to have it come off in the morning, I would page the nurse, who would have to come into the room because she couldn’t understand me with the mask on through the speaker, and then she would have to page Respiration, and I would have to wait for them to come.

This sometimes took 60-90 minutes.

Couple this with the fact that I couldn’t drink water at all while wearing the mask and the constant blowing of air, it made my mouth and throat feel like it was full of cotton.

Oh, and did I mention the alarm?

So, if I laid perfectly still with the mask on, there were no problems. If I moved my head at all, trying to turn it left or right, or even reposition my body into a more comfortable position, air would escape the mask and an alarm would go off that sounded like a nuclear meltdown warning.

I kid you not on the sound. It was loud. It would wake me up instantly. Again, the nurse would have to call Respiration to come fix it. This happened several times a night. My sleep cycle was obliterated.

The first night I wore the mask about four hours, and then requested to be taken off of it and put back on high flow oxygen only. The second night, I abandoned ship after about two-and-a-half hours.

The third night, I tried to avoid it altogether. I told my story to the nurse on duty that night about how it was hurting more than it was helping. The team treating me wasn’t buying it, assumed I was just having anxiety about the mask, tried giving me an Ativan to calm my nerves, and then put the mask on me.

To prove my point, I kept the mask on for nine hours that night. The nurse who gave me the Ativan had to come into my room 11 times in those nine hours and call Respiration all 11 times because of the alarm.

Just before she finished her shift at 7am, she apologized and said, “I see what you mean.”

There was one guy on the Respiration team though who was awesome. He was the first guy who got me on the high flow oxygen the day I arrived at the hospital. He was the on-call guy at night a couple times while I was there with the BIPAP. He explained to me how to adjust the mask if the alarm went off so it would stop and no one would have to be called.

He also explained why his department was limited with this machine because of COVID-19. He said they have to keep the airflow from COVID-positive patients flowing through the same mask and tubing so that it reduces the potential of infecting others who are coming into my room – whether it was the doc, or the nurse, or the health assistant, or the people bringing me food, or the folks emptying my trash cans, or the team from Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, or even the Respiration team.

It made sense then. I would have more than a dozen different people over the span of a day coming into my room. Yes, they were masked up, but this was an added layer of protection for them.

Still, I wear a CPAP at home. It sucks. I rip it off every night after only a few hours. I think the air flow is too heavy, but that’s what the docs tell me it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t help me sleep. It keeps me up at night.

There’s got to be a better option in 2021, right? I know there’s that Inspire thing where they surgically implant a stimulator in your neck and chest and you turn them on at night with the click of a button and turn it off in the morning. However, that’s elective surgery, which insurance isn’t going to help with, and secondly, I don’t know if I want to walk around with these little, noticeable sensors right under my skin.

This is an underserved and oft-forgotten about community of people, but it does affect 22 million Americans.

And those of us who have sleep apnea are likely more high-risk if we get COVID-19. Our breathing is already compromised at night, and now we have a virus that attacks that breathing. While the vaccine is here and the outlook is good for the second half of 2021, let’s not forget that the virus isn’t being eradicated. Folks will still need to worry about this complication not just in the second half of 2021, but for years to come.

Here’s hoping new research comes to light on how to address this problematic combination.

My favorite moments during this recovery

I’ve told you about a lot of bad that happened to me – and there’s a little more to come. But, there were moments to celebrate. Moments that helped get me home and back writing.

  • The day the Respiration team first lowered my high-flow oxygen intake from 100 percent to 80 percent. It was that moment I knew I was going to beat this virus. Sure, I could have had had a setback – but that moment told me that I probably got past the most dangerous part of my hospital stay.
  • My first sponge bath. It wasn’t much, but after four days of being in the same gown and not having any ability to freshen up, to receive a sponge bath was humanizing.
  • Leaving the ICU – In the end, I liked my ICU room much, much better. Glass doors, so you could see the nurse’s station. A high Def TV. Bigger room with big windows allowing me to look out over the Main Line during the day. But even though I was stepped down to an older room with fewer “amenities” the fact that I was out of intensive care meant I was almost home.

  • All the love and support. I didn’t post anything right away. But, Russ put something out there on Twitter and it blew up my phone. I eventually put a brief update on Facebook and that got a huge response. I heard from hundreds of people. Former Flyers players checked in. Jim Jackson said something on the broadcast of the second Pittsburgh game. Glen Macnow and Ray Didinger sent a get well message on their radio show. It was crazy. Still is. So many people just asking how I am, or if they can get me anything. I’ve had food delivered. Gift cards sent. It’s been overwhelming… but it was also amazing. It kept me driving to get better and better. I could never thank everyone enough.

  • My first shower. By the time my oxygen was down to 20 percent, I was allowed to walk to the bathroom by myself because the Respiration team extended my tubing so that I could move more freely about the room. As such, the nurse on Day 8 came in and said, “How would you like to take a shower on your own?” This was my favorite moment of my entire hospital stay. Now, there were rules. I had to sit, not stand. And I had to wear a glove on my right hand because of my one IV port and some plastic wrap on my left arm because of my other IV port, but holding that shower head and being able to actually spray warm water over my head and body and then using washcloth, soap and shampoo – it was heaven.
  • As I was being wheeled out of the room and down to the car to finally go home, all the nurses who took care of me for 11 days played the Rocky Theme song on the speakers and applauded me. It was pretty cool.
  • Walking in my front door and seeing my son, who had managed to survive on his own the entire time, brought a tear of happiness to my eye.

Home life

Just because I’m home doesn’t mean I’m back to being myself again.

I have a nurse who visits me twice a week. She keeps tabs on my progress, and although I’m doing very well for a week out of the hospital, there are still some small breathing concerns. A potential urinary tract infection, and a slightly high heart rate and blood pressure.

As a result, I have to have emergency oxygen on hand in my bedroom. Just in case I need it. I have to have a sign in my window alerting the presence of oxygen in case of a fire, so the firemen are aware.

I take about a dozen pills a day. I have two inhalers. I can’t talk for any extended period without becoming short of breath or coughing. My doc said I may not get this breathing thing back to normal until late February/early March.

My sleep schedule is still wildly out of whack. I find myself awake overnight and dozing off midday. I’m trying to get that right this weekend so I can return to my day job Monday (and get back to writing about the Flyers here on Crossing Broad this weekend).

My son has basically become my “caregiver.” When I need something, I call him. He brings it to me. Although I’m moving about the entire home, I spend most of my time in my bedroom. My desk is in there with my computer. I had my son move a rocking chair from the living room in there. It’s a comfortable spot to sit and watch TV so I don’t have to sit in bed.

I want to get back to being me, but I know it’s going to take a little more time. I’ve made peace with that, but it doesn’t mean I’m not antsy.

COVID-19 affects the healthy more than the sick, sometimes

I know this is kind of like burying the lede, but this is the part of my story that I addressed at the top briefly – about how fear of the virus is worse than the virus itself.

It causes more stress. More anxiety. More communication issues. More strife.

And the reason is, most people still don’t know enough about COVID-19, or, they have been scared out of their boots by all of the negative media coverage of the virus.

I list my sister as my primary point of contact for health decisions. My oldest son is also on the list, but my sister is the most calm, cool and collected person in the family (besides me), which, in my family, is like saying she’s Scooby Doo standing next to a ghost.

She was constantly on the phone with my nurses, getting updates, especially in the early days when things were a little more touch and go.

What I didn’t know at the time, and what my family didn’t want to tell me at first because they didn’t want me to worry, was that my Dad ended up in the hospital the day after me and was found to be COVID-positive – which I kind of expected from the beginning.

Now, he never ended up in ICU. His case wasn’t as bad as mine, but his hospital stay ended up being a day longer than mine. Add to that that we had three other relatives who tested positive for COVID-19 the next week, and my two sons having it, albeit asymptomatically, and my sister trying to run the restaurant she owns with my brother-in-law in the middle of a pandemic and… well… things started to get crazy.

My sister was getting piecemeal information from my nurses and the same from my Dad’s nurses. My mother, who must live in a Holiday Inn Express because of how much she knows about modern medicine, had many opinions about what should be done with both of us.

The reality was, she was panicked and scared. She had her husband and her son in the hospital at the same time with this virus. And although I was a bit worse off than Dad, it was definitely having an impact on her.

As I said earlier, my youngest son was forced to quarantine alone the entire time I was in the hospital, and although he’s 19, my family was worried about his ability to hang out by himself for 11 days. My daughter, who tested negative, stayed with my mom every day and every night to keep her company, and more importantly, keep her sane.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend Maria was a superhero. She drove out to Delco practically every day from South Philly, after working all morning and afternoon on the front lines herself at a cancer center in the city, to do whatever my family needed. Drop off food. Run and pick up a car. Grab someone’s medicine from CVS. Whatever was needed, she was there, and she was amazing.

But she also got caught up in the anxiety of everything. She was worrying herself sick about me and my Dad. She was texting me every night that it was adversely affecting her. All the unknown. All the uncertainty. It was really hard on her.

I tried to keep them updated every day. When the doc would do his rounds and come in to talk to me, I would tell them what was said. But sometimes what the doc was telling me was different than what the nurses were telling my sister. This created a situation where everyone felt I was trying to force my way home early, when in fact, the doc was giving me updates that the nurses had not been told yet.

There was a lot of confusion which led to a lot of consternation. And after I was moved from ICU to a step-down room after a week, the conversations started happening about when I could potentially go home. But my family didn’t believe me.

And when the day finally came, and I was told I was well enough to leave, my family didn’t want me to come home yet.

They were petrified. They thought my entire home needed to be sanitized before I could walk through the door, and nobody could get into the house because my son was quarantined there. Nobody wanted to pick me up because they were too afraid I was still contagious. They honestly asked me to ask the hospital if I could stay an extra couple days – as if I was chilling out at the Marriott.

None of this would have happened if it wasn’t drilled into our heads for 10 months about the horrors of COVID-19.

My discharge papers diagnosed me with pneumonia as a result of COVID-19. Let’s just imagine for a minute that I had pneumonia and it wasn’t related to COVID-19. Would my family have freaked out like they did? Probably not.

I’ve had regular pneumonia, prior to this pandemic, and I’ll be honest, I felt worse then than I did during this whole ordeal. I know things were scary dangerous for me on Jan. 13. But, the truth of it is, even though I felt terrible that day, I’ve felt worse previously.

They would have welcomed me home with open arms. There would have been hugs and kisses and people trying to wait on me hand and foot.

But add that COVID-19 designation to your illness, and you become a pariah.

Its why people are scared to admit they have it, or terrified to talk about it with others. It’s not that there’s been misinformation spread by the media, they’ve just sensationalized this pandemic – telling us only about the worst of it and not the rest of it.

Like people like me and my Dad, who are beating the virus every day.

For that to change, here’s the message that has to flood the media – both terrestrial and social:

There is no shame in having this virus. None.

Our fear of this virus has taken us away from the people we love. Family. Friends. But does it have to?

I saw my mother Thursday for the first time in more than three weeks. I haven’t seen my oldest son since Jan 10. I haven’t seen my sister since New Year’s Day. I haven’t seen my Dad since Jan. 3. I saw Maria for the first time Friday since Jan. 9.

I tell you this because these people were my Quaranteam. We spent the past 10 months together. We didn’t have any problems from March 13, when the country shut down, until I ended up in the hospital exactly 10 months later.

And then the most dangerous part of COVID-19 struck – the fear for those on the outside.

Everyone is OK now. We’re all laughing and joking together again. Getting home and proving we are well on our way to recovery has helped that the most. I look forward to seeing my oldest son, my Dad and sister soon. It’s been great to see my other two kids. Finally seeing Maria again warmed my heart (not to mention, I look a hell of a lot better now then when I was in the hospital, eh?).

COVID-19 is a serious virus. Please, if you get it, listen to your body. Don’t ignore it or try to hide it. Take care of yourself as soon as possible.

But don’t let it beat you mentally. And if you can, don’t let it scare your family and friends. If you have it, share it with the world. Keep loved ones updated. Provide detailed information to help educate those who still don’t really know what COVID-19 is. Don’t leave anything out. The more we know about how to live with COVID-19, the easier it will be to live with it for years to come.

Which is something I sure as hell plan to do.

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